My beautiful stag, leaping deer, many-pointed stag, how lovely you were in the woods! How light your step, how graceful your neck bending to drink, how wise your eyes that watched wary but fearless my approach, how regal your withdrawal! I see you even now, ever upon these green paths, glossy your red coat among the alders.
I dreamed we walked together in your kingdom, my sweetest friend, silent as only true friends are, in the autumn. I know the smell of burning leaves, fruit that ripens with the earliest frosts, the tang of ice upon my tongue. Where have you gone? How shall we know the turning of the seasons?
In the early dawn I see again the spear, the flying spear, ash-white spear, hardened in the fires and unblooded, my delight, and feel it through my fingers, the playful toss, unmeaning, unthinking, slashing at shadows. How bright your steaming blood, my king, upon the mossy bank! How silent you fell, as befit your majesty! O my vanished stag! O my darling, o my life! How dark now are my days, and endless are my nights, and rue, rue, rue, o, all is rue!